Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Next Grand Adventure

Our last Grand Adventure got its own blog. While I don't think the next one is quite long enough to justify its own blog, I do intend to give it some coverage here. It's to the place that has long occupied the top spot on my list of places I'd like to visit. I used to toy with the idea of heading up to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, hopping on a plane, and going there for a weekend. A winter visit was always especially tempting because of the probability of seeing the Northern Lights, something I haven't done for too long. With the 25th wedding anniversary looming, several months ago I sent the husband an e-mail to the effect of "25th anniversary. Northern Lights?" I actually didn't expect him to take me seriously, but he did, so we're off on February 19 for a week in ... (drum roll) ... Iceland.

Since Icelandair no longer flies out of BWI, getting to Iceland takes a bit more planning than it used to. And working a trip around the husband's teaching schedule added even more complexity. Fortunately, we have a good travel agent (Rochelle) and travel agency (Peace Frogs); I don't think we could have pulled this trip together without them. As the husband noted, we possibly (not probably, but possibly) could have arranged everything ourselves, but it would not have been cost-effective given the time it would have taken and the mistakes we might have made or the things we might have overlooked. While we're hoping to have some lower-case adventures on this upper-case Grand Adventure, we don't really want them to be of the travel snafu variety. Hence, the need for a good travel agent, and we'd highly recommend the one we have.

But back to the Grand Adventure. We'll leave here on Friday, February 19, as soon as the husband finishes teaching, and head to the Richmond airport, about 70 miles away. We'll fly to JFK in New York City and, from there, to Reykjavik, Iceland. We arrive at 6:45 a.m. local time Saturday. (Interestingly enough, "local" time for Iceland is Greenwich Mean Time, despite their appearing to be one time zone to the west.) The first planned adventure, Saturday afternoon, is whale-watching. No whale sightings are guaranteed, but we're hopeful. If you read the fine print on the whale-watching website, the boat also passes some islands inhabited by puffins, so it might be double the fun. (If you've done any reading about Iceland, you'll know that we might also see puffins on the dinner menu.)

The next day, Sunday, we're off on the Northern Lights adventure. This will take us to the Sel-Hotel Myvatn at Lake Myvatn (Midge Lake, which is why visiting in the winter may be better than the summer) in the northern part of the country. We'll have two nights in which to look for the Lights, and one full day in which to see a bit of the country. Right now, we're leaning toward a tour described as the following: "Lake Mývatn is a wonderful place in both winter and summer. On this tour we will explore its surroundings. Volcanic and geothermal activity near the lake have created spectacular landscape and scenery. We will make many stops by the lake; such as at the thermal area of Námafjall, where you will see boiling mud pools and bubbling sulphur pits, an underground cave with hot spring, the dark city of Dimmuborgir, the lava sculptures and the beautiful woodland in the nature park Höfði. All this and many other spectacular areas awaits you on the Lake Mývatn wonders tour."

On Tuesday, which just happens to be our 25th anniversary, we head back to Reykjavik where, on Wednesday, we plan to combine my crossing off one item from my list of fifty things to do in my fiftieth year (yeah, I know I'm late, but it's taken longer than I thought it would) with the husband's possibly finding relief from his arthritis. That means horseback riding in the morning and a visit to the Blue Lagoon in the afternoon. Details can be seen here. We're keeping Thursday free for anything we might want to book while we're there or just strolling the streets of Reykjavik, shopping, photographing, or whatever.

We fly back on Friday, to Boston's Logan Airport, where we catch the last flight of the evening back to Richmond. It would have been nice to stay an extra day, but the husband will have midterms to grade, and we'll both need a couple of days to shake the jet lag I'm sure we'll be feeling. Another Grand Adventure will have come to an end, leaving us back at home to start contemplating the next one.


Debi said...

Ah, so it wasn't horseback riding in the nude you were referring to.

This sounds absolutely wonderful, Jean!!! I hope the two of you have the most wonderful time imaginable...you certainly deserve it!!!!

kreed said...

That sounds like such a wonderful trip - whales, puffins, Northern Lights - WOW! How awesome that you are going. And so soon! I can't wait to hear all about it!

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